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Natural processes : the application of natural systems for the reclamation of drastically disturbed sites

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Title: Natural processes : the application of natural systems for the reclamation of drastically disturbed sites
Author: Polster, D. F. (David Franklin), 1952-
Issue Date: 2009
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2010-05-12
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2009
Abstract: Natural processes have been revegetating severely disturbed sites since the beginnings of terrestrial vegetation on Earth over 400 million years ago. Natural systems have developed to address all of the problems associated with unvegetated sites. Bare rock is colonized by lichens while shifting sands are revegetated with stout rhizomatous grasses and mat-forming woody species. Understanding how these natural processes that have evolved over millions of years allows us to use these processes to solve some of the toughest reclamation challenges facing us. Erosion is one of the most significant issues associated with reclamation of disturbed sites. Steep slopes, a subset of erosion issues, are a significant problem at many mine sites. Creation of a number of short steep slopes can reduce the problems of long steep slopes. A lack of plant nutrients is another common problem on disturbed sites. The use of nitrogen-fixing species can provide nutrients for other plants. Providing plants for revegetation of large areas disturbed during mining can present another challenge. Understanding what pioneering plants need to allow them to establish naturally, and creation of the conditions that will allow these species to naturally establish, can greatly reduce the costs of artificially establishing woody species. For every problem faced in mine reclamation, natural systems have a solution; the trick is to identify the solution that will work for the issues at hand. This paper explores the natural solutions to many of the common mine reclamation problems.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/24639
Peer Review Status: Unreviewed
Scholarly Level: Unknown

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